Science, cinema and imagination at Cinémascience
by Fabien Lemercier
02/12/2010 - Tuesday marked the opening in Bordeaux of a film event that is unique in Europe: the Cinémascience international festival, which is original in its use of cinema as a vehicle for the popularisation of science. Organised by France’s National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) and with Jean-Jacques Beinex as its patron, the event’s third edition will run until December 5. It will host a competition of ten films unreleased in France, all with science-themed plots.
Among these ten titles, whose screenings are followed by debates led by specialists from the CNRS, are seven European productions: Cosmonaut [trailer] by Italy’s Susanna Nicchiarelli (see interview) about the conquest of space; Spanish director Daniel Sánchez Arévalo’s obesity-themed Fat People [trailer, film focus]; Belgian helmer Hans van Nuffel’s Oxygen [trailer] (award-winner at Montreal and Rome – see review), about cystic fibrosis; Croatian filmmaker Damir Lukacevic’s German production Transfer, about modern slavery; Roberto Garzelli’s French feature The Sentiment of the Flesh [trailer] (see review), about medical imaging; Dutch director Sander Burger’s anorexia-themed Hunting and Sons [trailer]; and fellow Dutch filmmaker Reinout Oerlemans’s Stricken, about breast cancer (see news). The three other films vying for honours (two North American and one Russian) tackle the subjects of consumption, modern slavery and polar expeditions.
There will also be an “Avant-premieres” section, which includes Jesper Møller and Sinem Sakagolu’s German/French animated co-production Le Marchand de Sable (“The Sandman”), whose screening will be followed by a discussion about nightmares; and Icelandic director Baltasar Kormákur’s Inhale (featuring Diane Kruger), which looks at the issue of organ trafficking.
Also among the avant-premieres are several US titles exploring the themes of evolution theory, Parkinson’s disease, computer systems and space. Cinémascience’s intelligent line-up is completed by some special screenings, a retrospective entitled Visions of the Future, a Focus on Russia and a Night of the Mad Scientists "Phobia Special".
(Translated from French)